F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

29. P.Bakeri Lynch in Journ. Roy. Hart. Soc. London, 12, 441, fig. 32 (1890) ; F. C. Stem, ibid. 56, 73 (1931) ; and 68, 127 (1943).

Description. Stem villous, about 60 cm. high. Lower leaves bitemate, with the terminal of each set of three usually trifurcate ; leaflets oval or ovate, mostly 7-10-5 cm. long and 3 •5-6 cm. wide, broadly cuneate to almost truncate at the base, apex acute, dark green and glabrous above, glaucous and villous below ; petiole and petiolules villous, densely so at the base of the petiole. Flower about 11.5 cm. in diameter. Petals obovate to sub-orbicular, cuneate at the base, magenta-red. Stamens 1-5 cm. long, filaments red, anthers yellow. Carpels 3, densely tomentose.






Distribution. Known only from gardens. Herbarium specimens at Kew : Hort. H. J. Elwes, 31/7/1918 (K) ; F. C. Stern, 13/5/1931. 16/6/1931, -/5/I938, 10/5/1938 (K).

P.Bakeri is a mysterious plant which was described by Lynch (1890) from a plant growing in the Cambridge Botanic Gardens. It is no longer present in the Cambridge garden, but the other specimens in cultivation are known to be derived from that source. No specimen was kept and there is no known herbarium specimen of a corresponding wild plant. It has only been found P.bakeri true when come true in gardens.

It resembles P.arietina in that the stem, the back of the leaves and the carpels are hairy. The terminal leaflets also are usually divided to the base into two or three segments, and again, like P.arietina, it is a tetraploid. But the segments of the leaves are shorter making them broadly oval or ovate in outline, and it is a taller and more robust plant than P.arietina.

Like P.arietina it differs from P.mascula in possessing a greater number of leaflets of a different shape. It may be only a robust variety of P.arietina from some particular district yet to be discovered, or again it may be a form that has appeared in a garden and comes raised from seed.

This paeony has been grown at Highdown, where it seeds freely and the seedlings to type. It is a beautiful garden plant and easy to cultivate. [end page 85]